Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Boston Detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) loves his baby girl Emma (Bojana Novakovic). Emma for her part is missing home, even though she lives like down the street, and just wants to hang with her old man this rainy night. But then before getting in the car Emma coughs. As we have observed, cough in real life get a Halls, cough in a movie you are going to die. As you probably already know for this movie ‘Edge of Darkness’, if you’ve seen the trailer or the TV spot, Emma dies after getting flatblasted by a double barreled shotgun on the front porch while daddy was about to take her to the hospital, but since she coughed earlier she was going to die anyway.

Who would want to kill Emma? The girl is just an MIT educated intern working for some mega research corp. which provides classified something or another to the government. At first we thought somebody wanted to kill Detective Craven but a little research from our dogged and severely grieving crime fighter opened up a rabbit hole that goes way deep.

Things get complicated for Detective Craven when he meets Emma’s scared to death boyfriend Burnham (Shawn Roberts) who refuses to speak, fearing for his very life, not to mention a friend who the detective found in Emma’s phone who is also scared to death. Then there’s the mysterious Mr. Jedbergh (Ray Winstone) who let the detective know of his existence and also who seems to know a few things about a few things, though he can’t tell the detective exactly what these things are. It seems that this corporation that Emma was working for was doing something so heinous and so wrong that she felt compelled to do something about it, even though she knew that taking a stand could, and did, cause her to pay the ultimate price.

The more he digs, the more things that Detective Craven discovers, and the angrier Detective Craven becomes, and quite honestly he looked pretty damn angry even before his daughter was shot to death. The CEO of this evil corporation (Danny

Huston) looks to be involved, a slimy senator is entwined in this mess in some way and even the upper levels of the United States Government might be responsible for the murder of Emma Craven. And some other kids. And a few more people. With more people to come. But guess what, we got somebody who is about to sort all of this junk out with EXTREME prejudice.

So… I had some problems with this movie ‘Edge of Darkness’. Not with the surface elements of the movie but things that support these otherwise strong surface elements. As far as the strengths go it begins with Mel Gibson and when Mr. Gibson isn’t making Romantic Comedies or talking crazy under the influence of alcohol, he is still one of my go to guys and he brings the kind of intensity to the role of Thomas Craven that we would expect. Sure I halfway expected him to grab somebody by the collar and yell ‘GIVE ME BACK MY DAUGHTER!’, but that’s just Mel doing what he does. The story in this film, at its most basic, is very good. An angry man running through all kinds of physical and psychological road blocks to find out who killed his baby and why. It was tense, sometimes violent and oft times sad.

But I have some thematic problems I’m trying to work out. So a gunman kills Emma while she’s walking out of the house with her dad who is a law enforcement officer. It seems to me that these evil people, who we will observe do all kinds of terrible things in this movie to protect their evil secret, would assume that Emma has told her father what she was doing, as she was planning to do anyway, and just kill him too. I realize there would be no movie if this happened, but maybe Emma’s death should’ve been presented differently, less spectacularly. Yes, It was plenty shocking watching her fly though plate glass with entrails spraying… but it doesn’t make sense. Then we have this father who is over protective of his only child, his only connection to another person on this planet, but yet he’s never been to her apartment, has almost no knowledge of what she does or who she is or who she dates or any of her friends. Craven might as well have been investigating the life of a total stranger. Again, it has to be this way to allow the plot to develop, but it still doesn’t make any real world sense.

The movie was also setting itself up as this big mystery by introducing us to the cloak and dagger deep throat-esque Mr. Jedburgh, the mysterious CEO and all the little nuggets of information that the film was spoon-feeding the audience, and this was working. Then apparently this approach became just too cumbersome, and it was keeping Mel Gibson from kicking ass, so they just belched out pretty much the entire plot line to get that out of the way so Mel could beat up folks, shoot folks in the head and force feed people radioactive milk. It’s complicated. And don’t even get me started on the Austin Powers style final death plan that they had for Craven, which will eventually lead to the convenient clean up of all the bad people, which was ridiculous, and then the ‘happy’ ending. Come on man.

Take the movie ‘From Paris with Love’ for instance. That movie lives in a reality that can’t possibly exist. It is controlled fantasy nonsense so when something stupid happens its cool because the whole movie is basically stupid. This worked for that movie. ‘Edge of Darkness’ on the other hand is based in a serious dark reality, and it is presented to us as such, and when it stayed real it was very, very good. But then it went all Luc Besson on us and that did not work for this movie. It’s almost as if I were watching two separate movies.

Well… I liked the first movie a lot. I just didn’t care for the second movie all that much.

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